Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg establish ‘world's first autonomous shipping company’

Massterly can deliver and operate autonomous vessels such as Yara Birkeland Massterly can deliver and operate autonomous vessels such as 'Yara Birkeland' (Image: Kongsberg)

Norwegian shipping industry big hitters Wilhelmsen and Kongsberg are joining forces to take the next step in autonomous shipping by offering a complete value chain for autonomous ships, from design and development, to control systems, logistics services and vessel operations.

"As a world-leading maritime nation, Norway has taken a position at the forefront in developing autonomous ships. Through the creation of the new company named Massterly, we take the next step on this journey by establishing infrastructure and services to design and operate vessels, as well as advanced logistics solutions associated with maritime autonomous operations. Massterly will reduce costs at all levels and be applicable to all companies that have a transport need,” says Thomas Wilhelmsen, Wilhelmsen group CEO.

Land-based control centres will be established to monitor and operate autonomous ships in Norway and internationally. With a combined 360 years of experience, Massterly will benefit from Kongsberg`s unique technological expertise and solutions, and Wilhelmsen's world-leading experience in logistics and ship management operations. Norway’s position as a leading maritime nation also creates opportunities in the development of next-generation maritime personnel.

A key milestone in Norway’s maritime autonomy story was the announcement of Yara Birkeland in May 2017. It will be the world's first fully-electric container vessel and will be completely autonomous by 2020, sailing between Yara's Norwegian production facilities at Herøya and the ports of Brevik and Larvik. Massterly can deliver and operate autonomous vessels such as Yara Birkeland.

By Jake Frith

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